Review: Saints Row: Gat out of Hell (PS4)
Saints Row is in love with anything that’s outrageously wrong when it comes to acceptable morals in the eyes of the beholder. This time round they’re taking a it step further by visiting the evil one himself in hell – Satan.
Things unfold right after the events of Saints Row IV. In other words – don’t read any further if you’ve not completed Saints Row IV. It starts off with a birthday for Kinzie Kensington that has the Third Streets Saints playing a game of Ouija Board. By chance they contact Satan and they’re told that the leader will marry his daughter, Jezebel. Before you know it ‘The Boss’ (who you played as in previous Saints Row games) is sucked into a vacuum that leads straight to hell. Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington follows suit to save The Boss. Once arriving in hell they visit the Ultor Corporation and meet with Vogel who assists them in getting the attention of Satan by winning over allies in the form of Kiki & Viola DeWynter, William Shakespeare, Blackbeard and Vlad the Impaler.
Hell is indeed a really dull place. Gone are the neon lights that lit up the simulation in Saints Row IV and replaced with it you’ll find crumbled brown buildings surrounded by pits of boiling lava. It’s generally a decent take on hell, but it does not make it an inspiring place to visit in a video game. What’s more is that all your super powers you had in Saints Row IV, at first, are all but missing. At least you have your fair share of weapons. Not after long you’ll have access to powers, now called ‘Arcane Powers’ – Blast, Summons, Stomp and Aura. Blast has you turning your foes to stone (and later other elements), making them weak targets; Stomp will see you stomping into a ground causing an explosive earthquake of sorts; Summon sees you summoning demon creatures to assist you and Aura projects an aura around Johnny (or Kinzie, depending on who you choose earlier on) that has you inflicting damage to enemies in your close proximity. The big deal in Gat out of Hell is your ‘angelic wings’. Yes, you can indeed fly, but it’s not all that much fun.
Press and hold the X button and release it to leap into the volcanic sky and then press and hold the R1 button to fly. Unlike Saints Row IV you won’t just be gliding. You can actually pitch up or down, though you’ll require momentum to fly upwards. A quick press of the X button will have Johnny (or Kenzie) flapping his (or her) wings to gain a much-needed boost when required. Problem is the that flying feels very twitchy and I often found the controls just failing me. I’d opt for the gliding feature any day over this. Why all the flying? For clusters. Duh! Yes, clusters return once more and is once again required to upgrade your various powers. There is something you’ll notice very early on – upgrading does not cost nowhere near as many clusters as it did in Saints Row IV… it’s because they don’t intend you to play this for very long.
Gat out of Hell will barely last you 5 hours. It’s worth experiencing when buying the double-pack on the PS4 (or Xbox One), but if you’re looking at the standalone retail copy on PS3 or Xbox 360 you’re in for a rude awakening. You’ll, at most, get 8 hours out of the game when completing all additional quests and the story is as shallow as the overall offer. In their effort to extend the replay value several endings have been included for you to choose from. Yes, you literally decide which ending you want.
I expected much more from Gat out of Hell, though there was one specific Disney-like cutscene with top production levels that had me grinning from ear-to-ear. If you’re planning to play it on PS4 or Xbox One it’s worth the entry, purely because of Saints Row IV. Last generation owners might want to refrain from buying into this evil.